Published by Katherine Tegen Books on 1 April 2014
Source: Purchased e-book
Rule One—Nothing is right, nothing is wrong.
Rule Two—Be careful.
Rule Three—Fight using your legs whenever possible, because they’re the strongest part of your body. Your arms are the weakest.
Rule Four—Hit to kill. The first blow should be the last, if at all possible.
Rule Five—The letters are the law.
Kit takes her role as London’s notorious “Perfect Killer” seriously. The letters and cash that come to her via a secret mailbox are not a game; choosing who to kill is not an impulse decision. Every letter she receives begins with “Dear Killer,” and every time Kit murders, she leaves a letter with the dead body. Her moral nihilism and thus her murders are a way of life—the only way of life she has ever known.
But when a letter appears in the mailbox that will have the power to topple Kit’s convictions as perfectly as she commits her murders, she must make a decision: follow the only rules she has ever known, or challenge Rule One, and go from there.
Katherine Ewell’s Dear Killer is a sinister psychological thriller that explores the thin line between good and evil, and the messiness of that inevitable moment when life contradicts everything you believe.
Thoughts: This book is about a teenage serial killer, so I knew going in that there would be some believability issues. Still, I was hoping to LOVE this one, and while it did keep me entertained enough to want to talk about it while I was reading (thanks, Jen!), it ultimately wasn’t everything it could have been.
First, there is a sort-of relationship between Kit and and the about 30-year-old detective at Scotland Yard. If you’ve been around awhile, these types of relationships make me very uncomfortable. Because they happen, and they are screwed up, and I don’t think they should be romanticized. I understand teenagers developing feelings for adults in their lives, but is it too much to ask for adults to grow up and set some boundaries? (That is a general frustration, not specifically targeted at this book.) While the relationship never crossed any physical boundaries, it still felt inappropriate. At first I thought that it was all in Kit’s head, as a young girl idolizing an older man, but Alex seems to genuinely care for Kit, and the fact that he is always uncomfortable around her means that maybe he knows that this relationship is inappropriate. On top of that, they had absolutely no chemistry, so I really didn’t understand why the relationship existed at all (besides the obvious usefulness to the plot).
My other major concern with this book is the end. I will overlook almost anything if there is a killer ending, but I still am not sure what the end was even trying to do. Even thought several seemed set up, there were no crazy plot-twists at the end. Instead, View Spoiler » Kit maybe has an emotional realization, but it’s not totally clear if she has realized that she is insane or if she just thinks getting arrested is her best bet for the present. « Hide Spoiler This book had so many opportunities to explore cool topics, such as how our parents shape who we are, and yet it danced along the surface of all of them. I wasn’t expecting award-winning, but I wanted something.
Favorite moment: Kit’s first kill because I was excited to see it actually on the page. I was worried all of Kit’s killing would happen off-screen.
WTF moment: Every time I tried to apply real world logic. View Spoiler » Kit says she kills 10 people a year, and yet she is clearly killing at a higher rate than that before she goes off the deep end. She gets about 30 letters a month, and sorts through them, indicating which ones (plural) she will accept. Clearly, she has always killed more than 10 people a year, so when she stops killing for three weeks and Alex wonders if maybe they’ve stopped for good, I had to just remind myself that I didn’t study serial killer math in college. « Hide Spoiler
Overall: Don’t go in expecting it to blow your mind and you might enjoy it okay.